Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Papons Visit!

Our family has been busy soaking up the beautiful Minnesota weather! The West Ottertail County Fair was a few weeks ago and Kolsen and Kaylee each entered a few projects for 4-H. This was the first year for us to enter projects and I'm sure we'll be doing it again in the future. Karolyn was busy down south with Shawn's parents and her Kansas Cousins, so she didn't enter anything this year.

 The little girls loved the carousel.

 Kolsen could have spent all day on the bumper cars!

 Nana Yvette and Papa Bruce finally arrived with Karolyn and lots of garden produce! I could hardly believe how much stuff they were able to haul in the airplane.

When Nana Yvette comes we always try to fit in an art project! This time we did flowers with acrylic paint and canvases.

 Nana and I canned a few pints of salsa with all the produce she brought up! I'll be delivering it when we go south next time.

We had lots of baseball games! Kolsen is #3 on the left.

 Kassidy playing first base! She LOVES baseball, just like her brother.

 The kids were excited to show off their skills to Papa and Nana.

Kassidy batting. She hit quite a few balls all the way to the grass. She's a slugger!

 We also spent a few afternoons at the lake, but we couldn't seem to hit a sunny day so the swimming was pretty cold.

 Totally out of order, but this was Karolyn and the k-cousins painting at Nana's house.


 Nana's church group had a canvas painting class one day when she was visiting, so Karolyn went along and came home with a beautiful painting.


 Nana and Karolyn went out to pick some sandplums so we could make jelly. I think Nana did most, if not all of the picking and Karolyn played with Nana's camera. We did try to make jelly, but it ended up being more like syrup. Oh well, we'll love it on crepes and pancakes all winter long.

 The cheering section. These girls have watched a LOT of baseball through the years. 

 Triathlon training. I usually take a noodle with me so boats can see me in the water (and in case I cramp up). Notice the white caps, it was pretty wavy this day and I couldn't really see the buoy until I was right up on it.

 I love this new family picture. Thanks Nana!!! 

We are so thankful when our family comes up to visit! We had a blast all week long and I'm sure it'll take a while for Nana and Papa to recover from all the fun. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Crazy

Its been another crazy summer week around here. 

Karolyn was with my parents in Branson, MO and then traveled to Kansas with them to play with my brother's kids for a few days. Now she is staying at Shawn's parent's house and playing with Eric's kids and riding Cheyenne. We miss her like crazy!

 Our garden is starting to produce and we've been enjoying multi-colored green beans raw and steamed.

 I picked quite a bit of basil and parsley to dehydrate for this winter. I haven't dehydrated spices before, so we'll see how this goes.


The kids worked really hard to get all their 4-H projects finished in time for the county fair this week. I'm pretty sure moms should get a ribbon too!
 Kaylee is in her last year as a cloverbud, so she did three projects and got three rainbow ribbons. 
She was pretty exicited about her ribbons!

 Kolsen talking with the judge about his chalk pastel drawing that he did.
Note to mom: make sure it has a hanger on the back.

 Kaylee's lupine chalk pastel. She used a picture from our flowers of MN book and did this all on her own.

 She also completed a baby quilt and we were able to bring it to the fair, since our friends ended up having a boy. She did a fantastic job on the binding and is excited about doing another quilt soon!

 Kolsen created a wildlife poster and talked about why prairie potholes are important. He had fun putting together the poster and I think Shawn was happy to see his son becoming passionate about something he loves too.

The two little girls and I enjoyed a concert at N.P. Park this week sponsored by the library. It was a bluegrass band from the twin cities. The weather was beautiful and the girls had fun watching the lady of the group clog. She also gave us a quick lesson on the autoharp since we got their early, which was interesting to learn about.

 Kolsen's cheering squad at his latest game. Kaylee, LT and Kassidy loved watching the game (and playing at the park).

 I love this picture with Kolsen (on deck) in the background. 
His team is 9-0 so far this season and Shawn is doing a great job as coach.

We've also been finding some spare minutes to keep the house clean which is important since all the neighborhood kids and in and out of the house all day playing. I thought my mom was crazy when she bought these mopping shoes at a garage sale, but my kids LOVE to help me mop the floor with them. These are a must have item for any mom with little kids and lots of spills.

Now we just have to wait for Shawn to get off work so we can go on the fair rides and eat yummy food tonight. On Sunday, Karolyn finally comes home, along with my in-laws for the week. The kids are counting down the days! More summer fun is coming.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Parts of our garden are doing amazing and other parts are struggling along because of the rainy, spring weather. The most exciting part of the garden this year was the new space that we were able to add because of the deck. I feel like we doubled our space and we planted a lot of things that we haven't tried in the past.

 Our three rows of mix color beans are blooming like crazy. I think we'll be picking beans by the end of the week. I got these seeds from my homeschool mom's banquet and I'm eager to see how this new variety turns out. We also have a couple rows of onions which seem to be doing well, but are hard to see.

 We plated three jalapeno plants and three banana pepper plants this year. They are small, but are already producing vegetables.

 The big fail for this year seems to be my poor tomato plants. We bought some really small tomato plants and they grew to monstrous size in no time. Last week they started wilting one by one. We think it is because we've been having so much rain. A few of them seem like they'll perk back up and I bought two more at the farmer's market this past weekend to plant in place of the ones which looked really done for. I was dreaming about all the salsa and tomato sauce we would be putting up this fall and I'm devastated that they are dead. I'm not sure if I should by more? or if it is too late to plant new plants because our growing season is pretty short.

 My favorite new part of the garden is the spot for pole beans along the deck. They are already at the top and trying to go higher.

 Another new section of the garden is up by our house. Our backyard is pretty shaded, but right up by the house is really sunny and hot all summer long. This year I dug up all of Shawn's wildflowers (poor guy) and planted this area to garden too. I bought three beautiful trellis and planted spaghetti squash, cucumbers and zucchini. I found our that zucchini is NOT a vining plant, it's more of a bush, so next year I'll have to plant it to the side of the air conditioner and not behind it. I finally moved the middle trellis over towards the cucumber plants because they are going crazy.

I also planted celery and green peppers in the area in front of the vining plants. So far it seems to be working out well. I also have chives that need to be cut and frozen (to the right of the air condenser).

 Our raspberries are ripe this week and I've yet to see any make it into our house.

 We used all the large pots we could find in the shed for flowers along the deck and put one green pepper and one tomato plant (from the farmer's market in town) in pots. We'll see how these ones do.

 My first green pepper of the season.

 I planted cabbage and lettuce in front of the pole beans. The lettuce we've had so far has been delicious.

 My first cucumber. YEAH! I've never had the space to plant any vining plants, so I'm excited about adding these to our garden!

 Another sad picture of my poor tomato plants. I couldn't believe how tall they were and then they just bit the dust.

My spice rack. I planted basil, cilantro (which has seeded out already) and parsley.

We are also doing the Bluebird Garden's CSA again this summer, so we are getting a big box of vegetables to eat each week. We'll be swimming in vegetables all summer long!